Spain’s suitcase boy receives permission to stay

Government allows eight-year-Ivorian boy who was smuggled into Spain in a suitcase stay for one year

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

On Friday, the Spanish government gave a residence permit to eight-year-old Ivorian Adou Ouattara who was hidden in a suitcase while he was being smuggled into Spain.

The boy was detected by the Spanish police while he was being smuggled by a 19-year-old Moroccan woman into the North African Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

Officials from the central government representative in Ceuta said that the boy has been given permission so he can live with his mother for one year in Spain.

Spanish media said that the boy’s father Ali Ouattara has been living in Spain’s Canary Islands with Adou’s mother and sister but travelled back to the Ivory Coast where he paid the woman to reunite him with his son, after Spanish police arrested Adou’s father

While the boy was handed over to the Ceuta centre for underage migrants, officials called his mother for DNA test. The Spanish government did not release the father from custody.

African migrants often seek to enter mainland Spain through Morocco via the Ceuta and Melilla enclaves. Many of the migrants are caught by the police trying the climb over the fence, while many drown trying to enter the enclaves via the sea.

In 2005, Spain and Morocco decided to increase surveillance along the border to prevent deaths that occur as migrants attempt to enter.

The Spanish government has called on the European Union for help to reduce the number of immigrants to Melilla and Ceuta.

According to data from the Human Rights Watch, 4,300 tried to enter Ceuta and Melilla in 2013 and up to  2,804 people in 2012.

Last year 100 migrants successfully entered Melilla when at least 400 migrants stormed the border fence.

Overall, around 14,000 migrants have tried to cross the border, with 2,000 of them making it into Melilla.

To date, approximately 6,500 migrants died trying to cross the border.

TRTWorld and agencies